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Medical Schools in Los Angeles: Go to Med School in L.A.

October 26, 2022
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List of Medical Schools in Los AngelesBenefits of Medical Schools in Los AngelesConsiderations Before You ApplyLos Angeles Medical Schools FAQs


Reviewed by:

Akhil Katakam

Third-Year Medical Student, Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University

Reviewed: 6/3/22

Interested in applying to medical schools in Los Angeles? Read on to learn what L.A. schools have to offer.

The golden state’s capital is home to some of the country’s most prestigious and competitive medical schools. Besides receiving a top-notch education, it’s not difficult to understand why people flock to Los Angeles for school- think sunshine, beaches, excitement, culture, and more.

If you’re interested in some of the medical schools in Los Angeles but don’t know where to start, keep reading to learn which schools you can apply to and why you should. 

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List of Medical Schools in Los Angeles

Below are descriptions of three of Los Angeles’s major medical schools, including the average MCAT scores of accepted applicants and admission requirements.

University of Southern California: Keck School of Medicine

Established in 1885 at the University of Southern California (USC), Keck School of Medicine was the region’s first medical school and is overall California’s second-oldest medical school. It is located at USC’s Health Science campus in northeastern Los Angeles.

About the Keck School of Medicine

Keck School of Medicine focuses on providing a well-rounded curriculum, allowing students to work closely with faculty mentors.  

It is also known for its robust clinical teaching experience, which starts during the program's first weeks. Students train at the school’s more than a dozen affiliated teaching hospitals, including LAC+USC Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and Keck Hospital of USC. 

Apart from an M.D., students can enroll in combination degrees such as the MD/MBA program and MD/P.h.D program.

Table outlining the tuition and average GPA and MCAT score of the University of Southern California: Keck School of Medicine

Admissions Requirements

Notable Alumni

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan: Pediatrician and clinical scientist who is globally recognized for her work on HIV and tuberculosis. She also served as the Chief Scientist for the World Health Organization

Dr. David Drew Pinsky: Known as Dr. Drew, is an internist, addiction medicine specialist, and American media personality

University of California, Los Angele- David Geffen School of Medicine

Located at the southeast corner of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)’s campus in northeastern Los Angeles, the David Geffen School of Medicine is an internationally recognized leader in medical education. It repeatedly ranks among the best schools in the country,

About the David Geffen School of Medicine

Its curriculum is divided into three phases: Human Biology and Diseases, Core Clinical Clerkship, and 4th Year Colleges. The initial phase takes on a more relaxing pass/fail grading system, as well as an organ-based approach. You will spend a certain number of weeks solely studying the anatomy, pharmacology, physiology, and genetic background of the lungs. 

Like its USC counterpart, students can enroll in combined degree programs. Notably, it offers the UCLA/PRIME which prepares students to be proactive leaders in policy, care, and research for patients in disadvantaged communities.

For clinical clerkships, students train within the top-ranked hospital Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, as well as its other affiliated hospitals. 

Table outlining the tuition and average GPA and MCAT score of the University of California, Los Angeles- David Geffen School of Medicine

Admission Materials

Notable Alumni

Dr. David Da-i Ho: a physician, researcher, and virologist known for his groundbreaking research on HIV

Dr. Berry Paw: a pediatrician and biologist who discovered a gene responsible for hemoglobin production in humans

University of College Irvine: Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

This University of College Irvine (UCI)’s medical school is located in a suburb of Orange County and is known for its research institute, which emphasizes innovations in stem cell therapies, cancer research, and more. 

About the Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

UCI is one of the first medical schools to offer students a completely digital learning option, achieved through an interactive and comprehensive iPad-based curriculum. Each incoming student receives an iPad with curriculum materials, clinical apps, and digital textbooks.

Interestingly, students also receive portable ultrasound devices to promote the use of this noninvasive diagnostic tool. 

UCI offers dual degree programs, such as a combined MD/MPH in public health and its Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community (referred to as PRIME-LC).

Students mainly train at the UCI Medical Center during clinical rotations, which has been rated among the best hospitals in the United States for 18 years consecutively

Table outlining the tuition and average GPA and MCAT score of the University of College Irvine: Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences

Admission Materials

Notable Alumni

Dr. Laila Al-Marayati: an obstetrician-gynecologist and activist for the Muslim community. She served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 

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Benefits of Medical Schools in Los Angeles

As the second-largest city in the United States, the City of Angels has a lot to offer for any type of person. For some, its beautiful year-round weather is enough to justify the move, while others might see the move as a great networking opportunity. Keep reading to find out which of the medical schools in Los Angeles could be right for you. 


Los Angeles offers superb geographical diversity like no other place. Driving an hour or less from the city can land you in a desert, a mountain, or a beach. You can swim and surf on the iconic beaches of Malibu and Santa Monica one weekend and hike or ski in the Angeles national forests the next.

Study-life balance is essential for maintaining your mental health and well-being as a medical student. Having multiple outlets for fun, inspiration, and relaxation is a priority for many people. 

Fun in the City

If you’re not an outdoorsy person, don’t worry. Spend your weekends at the various cultural districts such as Koreatown and Little Italy, or visit the city's diverse number of museums. Think the Getty Center on one end of the spectrum and the quirky Museum of Neon Art on the other. 

A film buff or pop culture fanatic? As the entertainment industry hub of the U.S., the appeal of L.A. goes without saying. 

Professional Connections

The great deal of hospitals and private practices offer many opportunities for internships, fellowships, networking, and more compared to smaller cities. 

Considerations Before You Apply

Like with anything, there are pros and cons. Keep reading for what you should keep in mind before applying to medical schools in Los Angeles.

Cost of Living

Living in L.A. is more expensive than in most cities. For some perspective, however, it costs about 20% less to live in than New York City. 

At UCLA, the vast majority of first-year medical students live in student housing on campus. Student housing can offer cheaper alternatives, especially if you have children and seek out university-family housing.


When considering where to live, It’s also important to keep in mind that L.A. is notorious for bad traffic. Thankfully, the city’s public transit is amongst the best in the country, but make sure to consider the commute time before signing a lease.


It’s essential to keep in mind that L.A. schools are very competitive and may be challenging to get into. They consistently rank within the top 100 medical programs in America. UCLA, in particular, lands within the top 20 and has an acceptance rate of 2.2%.

However, exceptional education and facilities come with this prestige, so it can be more than worth it if you think you are a competitive candidate for L.A. schools.

Los Angeles Medical Schools FAQs

Below are some commonly asked questions about attending medical schools in Los Angeles. 

1. What Is the Best Medical School in Los Angeles?

According to U.S. New’s 2023 Best Medical School Rankings, UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine ranks higher in its primary care and research compared to other medical schools in L.A. It ranks in the top 20 in the United States for both research and primary care.

USC’s Keck School of Medicine and UCI’s Susan and Henry Samueli College of Health Sciences both rank in the top 100, making them competitive choices as well. 

2. Can I Still Get into medical schools in Los Angeles if my GPA or MCAT scores are lower than the average?

It is possible, but due to the competitiveness of these schools, it is less likely than someone with average or above scores. Compensate for your scores by standing out in some way, such as having an exceptional personal statement, letters of recommendation, etc.

3. Should only California residents apply to L.A. schools?

Definitely not. While there is a benefit of lower tuition for in-state medical students at UCI and UCLA, it is generally encouraged to apply to both in-state and out-of-state schools. If you feel that L.A. schools are a good fit for you, then go for it! 

4. Which is the most difficult medical school to get into in L.A.?

UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine has the lowest acceptance rate of the three of 2.2%.

5. How do I decide which medical school to apply to in L.A.?

Assess which school’s mission, curriculum style, courses, strengths, and training programs areas align with your learning style, interests, values, and goals. Review the requirements and average GPA/MCAT scores to assess your candidacy for these programs. 

Differences in tuition may also be important to you. USC has the most expensive tuition for in-state and out-of-state students while UCI has the cheapest. Of course, most American students apply on average to 16 schools, so you do not need to limit yourself to one L.A. med school.

Final Thoughts 

As a medical student, L.A. has it all. Expect to receive an outstanding education to prepare for a fulfilling career in medicine, all while making memories in one of America’s most exciting cities. Having a clear idea of what to expect when applying to medical schools in Los Angeles is the first step to calling this city your home for the next four years. 

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